Seabrook South Africa Import Guide

Importing Motor Vehicles into South Africa is far trickier than exporting out of South Africa and involves a substantial amount of paperwork.  Each import must be individually ascertained (no two imports are alike) and the process is rather lengthy.  The client must be made aware of the consequences of not having the correct documents, on time – before shipping takes place.

In order to ascertain the type of import, the client will need to provide the following information :

  1. Make
  2. Model
  3. Year
  4. Value
  5. Engine size and capacity
  6. Citizen status
  7. Dimensions
  8. Curb weight
  9. Left or right hand drive
  10. Length of period owned
  11. Business or Private use
  12. Current location
  13. Port of Delivery
  14. Reason for move(eg. Returning resident, Immigrant, Sale/Purchase, Temporary Import, Carnet Du Passage)
  15. Local Relocation required from our Warehouse to your residence
  16. 20ft or 40ftor Roro (roll on roll off)


  1. Permanent Import
  2. Temporary Import (e.g. for restoration purposes)
    • A temporary import permit is valid for 20 months and can be re-issued for an additional 20 months. You will not be allowed to register the vehicle in RSA when imported temporarily.
    • The client will be liable for full duty and vat i.t.o of a provisional payment which is refundable upon proof of export from the Republic.
    • For Seabrook to quote for bringing a car in on a TIP, we will need the value to calculate Import duties.  SARS will require at least 3 valuations or a Sales Invoice from a reputable dealership.
    • A LHD vehicle can be driven on SA public roads when imported on a TIP.
    • No Import Permit, LOA will be required when imported on a Carnet or Tip .
  1. Carnet de Passage
    • The Carnet de Passages en Douane is a document used to identify a traveller’s vehicle while going through customs. It can be thought of as a passport for your car. It offers a guarantee to a foreign government that the vehicle identified in the Carnet, if granted temporary importation status, will be removed from the country within the time limit imposed by the respective jurisdiction.
    • A Carnet de Passage is valid for 12 months and then you can apply for a renewal. You will not be allowed to register the vehicle in RSA when imported temporarily and on a Carnet.
    • On a Carnet, there are no customs duties, ad valorem or customs VAT.  The Client can apply for a Carnet  at
    • A LHD vehicle can be driven on SA public roads when imported on a Carnet or TIP.
    • No Import Permit, LOA will be required when imported on  a Carnet or Tip .
  1. Returning Resident or Immigrant (household goods may accompany the vehicle)

Returning Residents / Immigrants may apply to SARS for a rebate on duties and tax.  Customs Duty / VAT / Ad Valorem payments are subject to SARS Customs & Excise acceptance of Rebate application forms DA304/DA304A/P1160 for Returning Residents and Immigrants.


  1. A 20ft Container -FCL Shipping: “Full Container Load”

Here we ship a sole dedicated container for your vehicle. This could be in the form of 6m or 12m container. We look at the dimensions of your vehicle and decide accordingly. A 40ft can also be a FCL, depending on the client’s requirements.

  1. A 40ft Container – LCL Shipping: “Less than Container Load”

In our case with vehicle shipping, this is container sharing. We focus our efforts into popular ports and co-load vehicles into containers. This in-turn reduces the unit cost per client as costs are shared. A 40ft can also be a FCL, depending on the client’s requirements.

  1. RORO (Roll on roll off)

RORO is tends to be the cheapest method of shipping for vehicles, however, Seabrook makes more profit on containerised shipping than on Roro.

  • Vehicles are driven directly onto the RORO vessel and secured to the car decks.
  • It is important to note that you cannot ship personal effects using this method, but spare tire and factory fitted accessories are allowed.
  • Roro is not recommended for high value cars.
  • Roro is also used for large commodities such as Boats, Airplanes, Caravans or Military vehicles that do not fit into containers.
  • Cape Town does not offer a Roro service.


  1. LOA (Letter of Authority)
    • This must be obtained prior to shipping. Without an LOA, Customs will not release the vehicle.
    • A Certificate of Conformity (COC) must be provided with the application to enable the LOA to state “For Registration” otherwise it will be marked “For Customs Release only”. If marked for Customs Release only, a lengthy process begins whereby an Inspector will be required to travel from Pretoria on a date determined by them (sometimes a month) to inspect the vehicle.  After inspection takes place and all goes well, it takes another two weeks at least to amend the LOA.  If there are issue pertaining to compliance, those issue must first be resolved before the LOA can be amended.  Photos of the amendment are emailed to NRCS as proof that conformity took place as per their instruction
    • A LHD vehicle cannot be registered and driven on the public roads in South Africa.  If the vehicle is classed as a museum piece for display purposes or for use on non-public roads such as race track, it may be imported but not driven on SA roads.
    • However, there are special exemptions for LHD’s in certain instances based on various criteria at an additional cost. The client will need to contact us telephonically to discuss this option and to ascertain whether you and your vehicle could qualify for this exemption.
  1. ITAC Import Permits
  • This must be obtained prior to shipping. Without an LOA, Customs will not release the vehicle.
  • ITAC Import permits are only issued to :
    • Bona fide immigrants to import a passenger vehicle owned, registered and used by such immigrants in their home country prior to relocation in SA.
    • Physically disabled persons to suit their specific requirements and for their private use.
    • South African citizens, on their permanent return to South Africa, who have studied, worked of performed research abroad on condition that such a vehicle is owned, used and registerd in his or her name for a minimum period of six months while being permanently employed abroad for the corresponding uninterrupted period of no less than six months.
    • South African citizens for the importation of a vintage vehicle or a vehicle considered to be an international collector’s vehicle.
    • South African citizens for the importation of a bona fide track and circuit racing car on condition that the applicant is registered as a regional, national or international competition racing driver for track and circuit racing purposes only.


Vehicles older than 20 years, qualify for a 5% rebate.

Contact our SA Branch now for more detailed info.

Call our logistic representative from your shipping country of interest and get a competitive motor car shipping rate.

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